Personal contacts, employment and social mobility in Britain

This paper contributes to debates around social mobility and social capital by exploring the links between social class background, assistance from non-parental personal contacts for finding employment, and social class destination. The literature on social mobility, social capital and social networks is reviewed, drawing a conceptual distinction between social capital and social networks. Previous research has focussed on help from parents, yet much of the literature indicates that wider social networks are more important for labour market advancement. Using the 1970 British Cohort Study, with data collection at respondent ages 10 and 42, the relationship between help received from relatives or friends in getting jobs and social class is examined. The likelihood of receiving help varies according to class origin, yet the strongest predictor of social class destination is social class background, not social capital.

KEYWORDS: Social mobilitysocial capitalemploymentlongitudinal

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